A dream come true

Monday night was the culmination of a life long dream for Denver Broncos rookie sensation cornerback Darrent Williams.

Coach Mike Shanahan told the diminutive player earlier in the week that he would get the start in Monday nights home game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

According to Williams "I've been dreaming of playing in the NFL my whole life. To be playing along side these kind of guys and having the respect of coach Shanahan means so much to me. All my family will be watching and this is something I can talk about someday with my kids."

Standing in the locker room with a smile ten feet wide, the 5'-8'' 185 lb. player answered questions from a circle of media. His enthusiasm and excitement regarding his outstanding play was infectious and I found myself just smiling right back at him.

Asked if he was surprised by the fact he was given the start, "Well yes I was. (Lenny) Walls is a great player and I just wanted the opportunity to show what I could do."

During the press conference following the game, Shanahan was asked why he'd decided on the rookie to start in such an important "must have" game.

"Williams has proved himself worthy in practice and in the two pre-season games, and I felt he deserved the opportunity and the chance to start," Shanahan said. "Obviously his play tonight demonstrated my confidence in him was justified."

Relaying coach Shanahan's comments to Williams back in the locker room, he just widened that smile and rattled on like a kid in a candy store.

"I was so excited to be out there," he exclaimed. "I didn't have too many butterflies during the week, I was just so anxious to play. I know what I can do. I know I have the talent. I just want to bring it."

Asked what made the difference between Miami's the horrible showing at Miami and Monday night's comeback he said, "Tonight was the first time all three elements of our team came together. We know we can do it. We do it in practice and we've done part of it during pre-season games.

"We just couldn't get it all going at the same time until tonight. All the Broncos players feel like we can be Superbowl contenders if we just play our game, don't get sidetracked and do what we do well all week long."

When asked if he made any mistakes Williams replied, "Oh yeah, I made some and (John) Lynch let me know it. He's not at all like he appears in the locker room you know, all sweet and polite and all. Out there on the field he's the 'General,' telling me where I need to be, don't let down for one second. Cover this, go there, just barking commands.

"He's real intense, wants to get it done. Knows we can get it done and won't settle for anything less!"

Does Williams feel intimidated playing along side the likes of cornerback Champ Bailey and defensive end Trevor Pryce, both Pro Bowl players?

"No I wouldn't put it that way," Williams said. "If I make a mistake they don't criticize me like that. They just pat me on the butt and tell me to shake it off, that I'll do it right the next time. It's real helpful because it helps me keep my confidence up and that's what I need when I'm out there."

Williams' small stature doesn't prevent him from tackling much larger players in the red zone, as Monday night's defensive play stats revealed. His coverage and the play of Ian Gold, Bailey and Pryce kept the Chiefs from executing any commanding drives.

Pryce, named defensive player of the game, was also all over the field. Every time Kansas City quarterback Trent Green looked up, Pryce was there and it soon got to Green as his rhythm and timing were disrupted.

Only one thing more could have made the evening more satisfying for Williams - a big kick-off return. When asked about it he just smiled. He knows it's coming.



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